Gehan Gunatilleke is a lawyer specialising in human rights and constitutional law. His current research focuses on the relationship between identity politics, constitutional discourse, and ethno-religious violence in Sri Lanka. His work aims to understand, through a constitutional lens, the relationship between majoritarianism, Islamist radicalism, and anti-Muslim violence.
Prior to commencing his visiting fellowship at PLS, Gehan was a researcher at the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights at the University of Oxford, and a Research Director at the Colombo-based think tank, Verité Research. From 2015-2018, he served as an advisor to the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry, where he specialised in international human rights treaty compliance.
Gehan is the author of The Chronic and the Entrenched: Ethno-religious Violence in Sri Lanka (2018). He has taught undergraduate and post-graduate courses on human rights, democratisation, and development offered by the University of Colombo, University of Sydney, and the Open University of Sri Lanka. He was also a graduate tutor in human rights law at St. Catherine’s College, University of Oxford.
Gehan’s doctoral thesis in law at the University of Oxford focused on state authority to limit the freedoms of expression and the freedom to manifest religion or belief under international law. Prior to commencing his doctorate, he received a Commonwealth Scholarship in 2015 to read for a Master’s in International Human Rights Law at New College, University of Oxford. He was also a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard Law School, where he completed an LL.M. in 2010.